Here in Central Massachusetts, 2011 was one hell of a year. We had a number of weather events that impacted our area negatively. In January and February, we had severe heavy snows that caused much property damage such as ice damming and roofs collapsing. On June 1, a tornado swept through our area and there was widespread destruction. On August 28, Hurricane Irene hit our region leading to serious flooding in August and September. Evidence of West Nile Virus was found here in the fall. On Halloween, we had a record destructive snowstorm that caused widespread power outages and severe tree damage. And December was the beginning of a warm, very dry winter that brought us almost no snow or precipitation of any kind.
I have been chairing a committee at the Brookfield Unitarian Universalist Church since 2004. This committee deals with environmental issues and environmental justice. So when my friend Daphne S., who is a member of this Green Sanctuary Committee, told us all about the Connect the Dots Project, we all wholeheartedly agreed that we wanted to participate.
On May 5, people around the world set out to document the way climate change is affecting their lives. Writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben and others pulled this movement together to draw attention to the local consequences of climate change and to bring awareness to the broader climate crisis. This was done by all sorts of people all over the planet using dots to illustrate how this impact was felt in their individual lives and in their own areas. Looking through the photos of this event is stunning.
Our Dots tell the story of the way the weather treated us last year in Central Massachusetts.
|In back of the Dots is a small glimpse of the damage that the tornado caused in our area. This isn't the most dramatic view of the damage by any means, but it was the safest place for us to take the photo.|
I know that there are many people who believe that all this evidence is anecdotal and circumstantial and that there is no such thing as global warming or climate change. They think that maybe we are just going through some kind of natural change, I guess. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I would counter that it doesn’t really matter what you believe when it comes to deciding how to treat our earth.
Wendell Berry said, “The earth is what we all have in common.” And there is no arguing with that. The earth is home to each and every one of us. Most of us treat our own individual homes with reasonable care. Most people prefer to live in a clean home where the water is potable and the air is unpolluted.
Having a clean and safe place to live…isn’t that enough reason to do all we can to take the better care of our larger home, the earth?
|Part of this area that was swept by the tornado has been "cleaned up." |
|Mother Nature sure is powerful. |
|And very beautiful.|